Thrash Talk: MVP goes to the training staff

I had planned on making this a short article. For those of you that know me, you know that wasn’t very likely. But I will at least keep the opening short for once. Let’s begin, shall we?

News

The only real news is that Atlanta is finally getting a bit healthy. Aubin, Vigier and Heatley all returned to the lineup against the Blues. Savard, Exelby and possibly Tamer aren’t far behind at all. Of course, within that lies the biggest news; the return of Dany Heatley.

But this particular news was brought up earlier and the discussion turned in another direction, not surprisingly. All I want here is to talk about how his return will impact the team. But I’m thinking it’s inevitable that the discussion will turn again and even though I very much stick by my views in the previous thread, I’m not up for going through another pointless debate. So all I will say is that I’m happy he is playing again, and we’ll leave it at that.

Injuries

Garnet Exelby: hip pointer, likely to return by the weekend

Marc Savard: sprained MCL, may be back by this weekend also

Andy Sutton: broken foot, not expected until after the break

Chris Tamer: sore back, but practicing with the team (not that I or anyone cares much)

Prospect Update

Jim Slater: 31 pts in 26 games, as well as a +19, for Mich St (CCHA)

Braydon Coburn: 23 pts in 35 games for Portland (WHL)

Brad Schell: 66 pts in 51 games for Spokane (WHL)

Karl Stewart: 25 points and a +17 halfway through his first pro season with the Chicago Wolves

Kari Lehtonen: with a GAA of 2.36 and a save percentage nearing 93%, he has earned the spot as starting goaltender for PlanetUSA in the AHL All-Star Game

Trade Rumors

The winds are starting to swirl. Contrary to popular belief, more than four or five teams are in the market for acquiring players. And as always happens, some of these “lesser” teams pull a fast one, grabbing players that many fans thought were destined for certain other teams

(who I shan’t name, but you know). I’m not saying that Atlanta will but they are certainly in the mix, at least for now.

So who then are these mysterious players that Atlanta is looking for? Haven’t a clue. This is because we have a GM who wisely keeps his mouth shut about any possible deals. And we he does comment on it, he is vague and often cryptic, leaving the door open for many possibilities. Here is some of his more recent vagueness.

1) During the Blues game, he said that he would like to get a top three Dman. Someone that could eat up 20 minutes a night, and of course be very responsible defensively.

2) On a local rock station’s morning show, he said that he would be willing to trade the Thrashers first round pick if he could get a forward in his mid to late 20s that would be a mainstay for many years to come. He would not trade that first rounder for someone in their early 30s who would likely be a rental player. In DW’s usual fashion, he never said the team wasn’t looking for such a player, just that he wouldn’t consider trading that first rounder for him.

3) Waddell also stated that he would like to acquire a defensive centerman, to help with faceoffs. But then again, what team doesn’t want that?

Which leads us again to actual names of the players Waddell is looking for and who he is willing to trade to get them. When Atlanta gets healthy, they will have 9 Dmen on the roster and only one they can send to the minors without clearing waivers (that’s Exelby, and he is going nowhere). So that leaves Tamer, Tremblay and possibly Tjarnqvist as trade targets. For the forwards, Stefan has always been rumored to go elsewhere but he is playing well enough so that option might be out the window. The only other forwards available are grinders for the most part, and any trade that includes one of them is likely to be in a package deal. As I mentioned before, a high pick is a tradable asset if the player coming back is of a suitably high caliber.

As you might have noticed, I dodged the issue of speculating who might be coming this way. That’s because I honestly don’t a have a good idea of who it might be, and I do not feel like making an ass of myself by throwing out random names. I will, as always, leave that up to the rest of you.

Extras

Due to some unforeseen generosity, I was able to attend the game against St. Louis on Wednesday (more on that in a moment). That is the most alive that I have ever seen that arena, of course due to something mentioned earlier in this article. I’ve never had the pleasure or privilege of attending an NHL playoff game, which I have to assume is akin to bedlam. If the atmosphere of a playoff game equals or exceeds what I witnessed on Wednesday, then I really cannot wait for this team to finally get there. But I will, as ever, remain patient.

The tickets I received were in the swanky part of Philips Arena. Suffice it to say, I had never seen that side of the arena before. I must say that I was very impressed by the luxury and comfort provided there. I can only imagine that the luxury boxes above step-up that level of comfort. Of course I did not partake in any of those comforts, as that would have required me taking out a loan to pay for it. Now I can see how these new arenas make so much money. But what impressed me the most wasn’t the much easier access from the outside, the two excellent bars, the set-up of real tables for dining or drinking, the random celebrities that wandered about. I was more impressed by the fact that the entire area was carpeted, call me a simple man.

That’s all, folks!